How Papillote & Cie has increased their customer base since switching to Square

Papillote & Cie, a chain of stores located in Quebec City, has always considered quality an essential criterion at all levels of their business.
A pioneer in the ready-to-eat meal space, the business has expanded over forty years, constantly fine-tuning operations to streamline operations as they have grown. Here, we speak to Papillote & Cie president and business administrator Dimitri Chapuis about the company’s origins, their eclectic clientele, how COVID-19 inspired them to change payment systems and how they have increased their customer base since switching to Square.

On the origins of Papillote & Cie

Everything began at our Halles de Sainte-Foy location 40 years ago, when we were a small ready-to-eat kiosk offering a range of different menus. Over the years, we added new businesses in the food sector, including: a cafe in the 1990s, where we introduced ready-to-eat products, and a European-style butcher shop in the 2010s. Since around 2015, we’ve also had a boutique dedicated to culinary flavours, offering exceptional products like spices, oils and vinegars (some over 100 years old!) that are quite hard to find in Quebec. We created all of this with the aim of offering our clientele products of the highest possible quality. In the 1990s we also opened a second ready-to-eat location outside Halles, in order to have better visibility for the people of Quebec. Here, we only sell home-cooked meals. We have a rule: if our 20 employees can’t make a dish, it won’t be found on our counters. Forty years after we started, we offer about 50 different cooked dishes and 40 different types of pasta, both fresh and frozen.

Papillote & Cie Employee and Customer

On their customers and how COVID-19 affected the business

The majority of our customers come from a radius of around 10 to 15 km, but some come from as far away as Japan! There is no typical age for our customer. Some of our customers are students at the nearby schools Laval University or Cégep Sainte-Foy, who used to accompany their parents to the shop, and now prefer to pick up a lasagna from Papillote & Cie instead of buying fast food. We average about 5,500 weekly customers.

At the start of COVID-19, obviously people weren’t wanting to touch cash, since everyone was so uncertain about how the virus was spread. This, of course, made us reliant on our payment processor, which was unreliable, to say the least. We had used it for about 15 years, and found the lack of customer support increasingly frustrating — not to mention the constant IT issues we faced. It wasn’t practical for the changing payment landscape. After doing a lot of online research, it seemed to me that Square was the most reliable and easy-to-manage system, and this conclusion of mine was reinforced by the positive feedback I heard from other merchants who were already using Square.

On how Square has helped Papillote & Cie increase their customer base

The transition to Square was extremely smooth. The training was excellent, and I love how easy it is to access reports on the Square Dashboard — everything is accessible in two and a half seconds with Square. I’m hoping to start using the Square Online platform shortly. Since we switched to Square, our customer base has increased by 15 to 20%. Our customers couldn’t be more pleased to have a fast and reliable system, and we get a lot of positive feedback about the system’s ease of use. I’m totally satisfied how switching to Square has positively impacted our bottom line.

Papillote & Cie